[Poll] To Privatize or Not to Privatize, That is the Question.

West Orange privatized the maintenance of its parks and grounds this year. But should privatizing be seen as a panacea for balancing municipal spending?


One thing the township does not have to worry about this year is the maintenance of its grounds and parks. 

For the first time, the township privatized the maintenance of about 120 acres of its parks and grounds. D’Onofrio Landscaping of South Orange -- no relation to the editor -- was contracted to do the work between the months of June and November at a cost of $125,000

Public works crews were responsible for this work in the past, which have been stretched thin due to a diminishing staff over the years, said Public Works Director and Municipal Engineer Leonard Lepore.

The most significant aspect of hiring a private company, said Lepore, is that township employees can now be reassigned to more important and timely issues, such as roadwork and sewer maintenance. 

“It enables us to reassign personnel and help bolster up our other divisions where the costs of delivering those services can very often be a lot more expensive than, say, doing some grounds maintenance and lawn cutting,” said Lepore. 

Mayor Robert Parisi addressed the same issue in a recent press release. 

“Outsourcing some of this work enables the Department of Public Works to concentrate on other projects and provide timely and increased services for the tax payers,” wrote Parisi in a press release. 

According to Lepore, the township was not interested in increasing township staff in order to better handle the workload. 

When it comes to public services, such as maintaining public grounds, would you prefer to see your tax dollars going to private businesses or hiring more township employees? 

And are there any "sacred" services you think are off limits to privatization? 

Vote in the poll below and leave a comment below. 

Brett Kaiser August 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
What are a list of Service that could be outsourced, and what do they cost today for the town to do them?
badbul September 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
I say outsource the job that the mayor is doing. We can communicate with the new mayor in Pakistan over the phone and Facebook. Just think of all the money we could save? Seriously speaking, even if the township doesn't terminate any employees when outsourcing work, the employees stand to lose thousands of dollars a year in overtime income. I'm sure the employees have a mortgage or rent, vehicle loans, families and need to put food on the table. Another thing to take into consideration when outsourcing is "kickbacks" that are given from the company that wins the biding of the contract (that's assuming its not a closed biding process).


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